33 Years After, Awolowo Lives On

Oluseyi Dasilva

 

 

 

Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Oyeniyi Awolowo, GCFR.  Born to a Yoruba farmer on 6 March 1909 was a Nigerian nationalist and statesman who played a key role in Nigeria’s independence movement, the First and Second Republics and the Civil War.

He was one of the enviable and truly self-made younmen among his contemporaries in Nigeria. A versatile writer and active journalist, editor per excellence to several publications. After receiving his bachelors of commerce degree in Nigeria, he traveled to London to pursue his degree in law.

Obafemi Awolowo was the first premier of the Western Region and later federal commissioner for finance, and vice chairman of the Federal Executive Council during the Nigerian Civil War. He was a three time Presidential contender.

A native of Ikene in Ogun Stateof south-western Nigeria, he started his career, like some of his well-known contemporaries, as a nationalist in the Nigeria Youth Movement in which he rose to become Western Provincial Secretary. Awolowo’s remarkable contribution towards progressive social legislation was part of what brought Nigeria this far as an elite nation in Africa.

In politics, Obafemi Awolowo was the first Leader of Government Business and Minister of Local Government and Finance, and first Premier of the Western Region under Nigeria’s parliamentary system, from 1952 to 1959. He was the official leader of opposition in the federal parliament to the Balewa government from 1959 to 1963.

In 1963 he was charged sedition and eventually imprisoned and was not pardoned by the government until 1966, after which he assumed the role as Minister of Finance. In recognition of all of this, Awolowo was the first individual in the modern era to be named as the leader of the Yorubas (Yoruba: Asiwaju Awon Yoruba or Asiwaju Omo Oodua)

 

Some thirty three, 33, years ago, precisely 9th May 1987, Chief Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo bid this world goodbye. Though he wasn’t perfect, but he surpass all his critics and so till date, he remain a name to associate with in the political terain. He was an hardworking, sagacious, wonderful, eloquent orator and visionary leader of extremely high repute that transcends more than all his peers. He was a lion to all our western oppressors. His selfless attitude to issues and believe in developing others was uncommon in leadership. It is quite unfortunate that Nigeria lost a golden opportunity of this great Presidential material and messiah stature.

In his life, he wrote several books some of which is Voice of Reason, Voice of Wisdom, Voice of Courage. The People’s Republic, My March Through Prison and several others.

Awo was a man of words and action who lived by what he preached.

He stood tall among his peers and those who fault him only do so on grounds of mischief, asserting that no man is infallible and accepting that they come to seek justice without clean hands.

After him, no other Nigerian politician has enough integrity to step into his shoes as leader of Yorubas. Nigerians await your recarnation to save Nigeria from her predicaments.

Your transition was painful but the creator understands the perfection of his acts for the good of mankind. Sleep on, Awooooooo!!!

 

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